Writing about writing, the last resort of the desperately
blocked writer. –Oh Yes, I Just Quoted Myself
I’m trying to pick a topic, a theme, for a blog post, and failing miserably. Of all the things that happen, what’s to be a story and what’s to float by unacknowledged? What’s my “about” today?
I could write about Friday, a glorious evening in which, thanks to an early morning hockey engagement, I’d given myself permission to accomplish nothing—just a six-hour wander from couch to porch to couch again, playing Wii, watching TV, reading. A familiar story about the glories of the little things.
I could also write about how, and not for the first time, I spent parts of the weekend listening to Randy Newman’s “God’s Song” on a loop, savoring the bluesy melody and spiritually sadistic, hopeless lyrics. That’s an analysis of art, lyrics and music—not my strong suit, but that hasn’t stopped me in the past.
I could yet again revisit the satisfaction of a hockey day like Saturday, with the fun of the sport and the even-more-fun of the social time. But I’ve told that story a lot, and while the experience doesn’t get old, the topic has, and I should probably leave it alone until I find something new to say about it.
I could write about the beauty of a cold, sunshiny day at the polo match Sunday—or about how such a beautiful day got its pall from a horse dying on the field. A weighty story, to be sure, but not one I want to linger on.
I could write about the random phone call I got at work just now regarding a former associate’s upcoming court date for all manner of craziness. Like, “guns and death threats and handcuffs” kind of craziness. But I’m not sure I can tell that story anonymously enough, and I don’t want to be interfering in current court proceedings (or implicated in future ones).
Nothing new to write about, but folks like Lefty and Progeny always help make for fun after-hockey times.
I could write about how dealing with writing all day makes you overanalyze other people’s casual words in ways they themselves couldn’t possibly have intended. Literary interpretation is a poor substitute for social skills. That’s a story of self-discovery.
This is the kind of thinking editor-types and others have to do at work all the time (except at work I’m not allowed to do a cheap cop-out like this). It gets to be a habit, scooping stories out of thin air. Not just the topic itself, but the scope and mood of it. This is what I get all John Nash neuroses-as-schizophrenia from: What details do you pick out from the slice-of-life, stream-of-consciousness chaos of your daily experiences that can be assembled into an orderly description of circumstances united by a theme?
A lot of times, stuff jumps out at you. Sometimes, you have to look into more philosophical matters. Or there’s times like today, where I’m sure I’ve come across a story or two that are suitable, but my radar’s down; everything’s going by at the same volume.